Investing in the best and the right equipment can either make or break you once you are already in the paintball field. In this case, one important gear or equipment to invest in is the best paintball hopper. Also called a paintball loader, the hopper is the gear that you attach to your paintball marker or gun.
It holds several rounds of balls, the ones that tend to drop into your paintball gun prior to firing it. Having the specific number of rounds that you need gives you the opportunity of firing them quickly. However, take note that you can’t expect to find the best paintball hopper if you do not arm yourself with relevant knowledge about it.
Note that not all hoppers are the same so you need to spend time analyzing and scrutinizing all your options. In this case, you may be able to find the help that you need through the short reviews of the following products in this specific category.
Each review mentions the strength and the weakness of the product, so you can make a better decision.
Comparison of Paintball Hoppers
Best Paintball Hoppers 2018
1. Proto Primo Paintball Hopper
The Proto Primo Paintball Hopper is an ideal choice, especially if you are looking for an affordable and reasonably priced option. I think that it definitely works for those on a budget. One nice benefit of this loader is that it functions well by sorting and funneling the paintballs down while you are shooting. This results in a consistent vertical feed.
It boasts of a reasonable capacity, which can handle up to 200 paintballs. What I find even more impressive about the loader is that it does not require you to worry too much about a battery indicator or battery life. You will no longer be seeing the mentioned features that tend to show that your battery is already low on power, making it convenient.
It is because it is not an electric hopper but a gravity-fed one. You can expect it to run smoothly even without the motor and the batteries. One more thing that is so nice about this paintball hopper is the fact that it works in relieving the pressure on the paint. This works in minimizing the risk of jams.
I am also happy to say that this hopper allows users to enjoy higher feed rates. Furthermore, it guarantees an easy reload process with the help of its clear spring lid. It also features a large opening, which allows it to work well on Proto alpha pods. It is capable of shooting more than 8 balls per second.
However, you also need to be aware that the Proto Primo paintball hopper is heavier in comparison to other hoppers today.
2. DYE LT-R Electronic Paintball Hopper
If you are looking for an electronic type then I think that one of the best options for you is the DYE LT-R electronic paintball hopper. In my opinion, one thing that sets the DYE LT-R apart from the rest is that it uses the patented DYE loader technology. Such technology works in combining a high level of functionality with reliability and excellent feed rates.
In fact, I realized that it is actually capable of firing more than 30 balls every second. I find it impressive in the battery efficiency department, too. It is mainly because it only requires 3AA batteries to power it. Once the batteries are around, the hopper will be capable of providing more than 80,000 balls shot count.
It also boasts of its tool-less maintenance. With such feature, it is possible for users to enjoy an effortless, highly intuitive, and fast assembly and disassembly process. You can also easily clean up and maintain it with just one push of a button and just by simply sliding the locking tab.
What is even better about this electronic paintball hopper is its ability to remain completely functional for a certain period of time because its coated board is water-resistant. Furthermore, it is easy to fine-tune the settings of the torque manually with its adjustable torque feature.
You will also be satisfied with the fact that the hopper lets you turn off an indicator light in case you are participating low-light or night games with the help of its black-ops feature.
One issue, though, is that it is prone to jamming but you can easily deal with this problem just by turning it upside down and pulling the unjam mechanism.
3. Virtue Spire Electronic Paintball Hopper
Your search for the best paintball hopper will also most likely introduce you to the Virtue Spire. It is mainly because the Virtue Spire is one of the most reliable hoppers in the market, which continues to earn positive reviews and feedback from the majority of its users.
One of the things that got my attention is the overall design of the loader. It is primarily because it is sleek plus it comes in various colors. It works particularly well for beginners and intermediate paintball players. This compact and sleek paintball hopper is capable of holding around 200 paintballs.
Another noticeable advantage that you will most likely love from the hopper is that it is easy to disassemble. It is primarily because of the built-in slide-to-unlock feature in the hopper. It also lets you enjoy using it without the risk of jams – thanks to the spring anti-jam drive integrated into it.
The high 200-paintball capacity of this hopper also means that you have a lower risk of running out of firepower when you are using it. A flex cycle paddle also ensures that the paintball has a lower risk of breaking down. It is durable plus comes with a low and comfortable profile to prevent players from getting weighed down when using it.
However, be prepared to spend more when buying this electronic paintball hopper as I figured out that it is one of the costliest options you can find.
4. Empire Halo Too Paintball Hopper
If you are still starting to learn the ins and outs of paintball then I highly suggest using the Empire Halo Too paintball hopper. It is easy to use, so you will never experience complications when operating it on the field. One remarkable thing about the hopper is that it is offered at an affordable price.
It is affordable and simple while still ensuring that beginners, like you, will have a lot of fun on the battlefield. I am also glad that I came across this paintball hopper because I found out that it has a reliable force-feeding mechanism capable of feeding up to 20 paintballs every second.
It also takes pride in its ultra-quiet belt. This specific feature is the reason behind why the product can shoot lots of paintballs to your opponents with a high level of accuracy and in a continuous manner. Furthermore, you will find its reloading mechanism easy to use and operate.
You are also assured of its ability to prevent jams with its built-in freeway anti-jam feature. With this built-in feature, you have a guarantee that it won’t jam during the time when you are reloading. With the overall design and mechanism of this hopper, you also have a guarantee that you will receive a consistent supply of balls all throughout the game.
One potential drawback of this paintball hopper is the fact that it is quite tricky to disassemble.
5. Dye Precision Rotor Paintball Hopper
Another paintball hopper that you should incorporate in your list of choices is the Dye Precision Rotor. It continues to leave a good impression on me considering the fact that it is the most lightweight paintball hopper introduced to me. Despite being lightweight, it still has the capacity of holding up to 200 rounds.
One great advantage of the hopper is that it has a unique and distinctive low-profile design. Such design makes it possible for the hopper to push the balls straight down when dealing with a short distance. This results in the smaller size and shape of the loader and its low profile.
Another thing that I am so happy about in this paintball hopper is it uses the proprietary tuff molding, which is capable of withstanding a drop even coming from a 3-story building. I can also assure you that it will remain functional even if it is underwater because it has a water-resistant coated board.
It has an impressively high feed rate, too. In fact, it can handle more than 50 balls per second. It also combines the opposing center rotor arm rotation and constant feed rotor carousel, which results in a consistent, reliable, rapid, and smooth feed performance. One more favorable advantage is its quick and easy reloading process.
It even takes pride in its built-in transparent locking lid, which is a big help if you are looking for a more secure closure and a quick loading process. You can also easily keep track of the level of paint because of the see-through windows integrated into the paintball hopper.
It is a pricey paintball hopper, though, but with its excellent quality, you will definitely not regret investing in it.
6. Virtue Spire III Electronic Paintball Hopper
Another remarkable choice that I want to introduce to potential electronic paintball hopper users is the Virtue Spire III. This electronic paintball hopper will never let you down as far as its performance is concerned. It is one of the high-end paintball loaders that you can find, which is why it boasts of its reliable and easy to use design.
One thing I truly enjoy in this paintball hopper is its new hinged shell technology. I think that the use of this technology is one reason why the hopper is easy to disassemble and set up again. You can even change batteries and speed feed and clean it up within just a few seconds.
A high level of durability can also be expected from this hopper. You will notice such durability upon seeing the combined bottom, back, and top shell in just one hinge-mounted unit. It also boasts of its high 220 or 280-round capacity. Such capacity is made possible without putting more height and weight into the hopper.
I am also glad that its lid is replaceable with the most reliable speedfeed within just a few seconds. It also combines the excellent feeding performance, sag-proof reliability, and paint retention that most users prefer.
However, it might be quite tricky and challenging to install its color kit.
7. G.I. Sportz LVL Level Paintball Hopper
Another of the most impressive products in the paintball hopper category is this hopper from G.I. Sportz. Among the things that instantly appealed to me when I came across this hopper is its ultra-lightweight nature as well as its extremely low profile. Such lightness and low profile promote make the hopper easy to use and manage.
I am also greatly satisfied with the rubber ring feeding system used in this hopper. Such system also boasts of a soft feeding, which is ideal for brittle paintballs. One more remarkable advantage I can guarantee potential users is that it provides you with excellent options regardless of the weather – that’s all thanks to its rain lid.
I am also happy to say that this hopper is easy to clean and manage. With its jam-proof drive system, you can also minimize the risk that the hopper will cause jams. It also boasts of its up to 200-round capacity. This is already an excellent capacity for the majority of paintball players.
I am also pleased with the durability of the hopper. It is made possible by the use of a high-impact nylon material as well as the inclusion of a 100% durable shell body. You will also find it easy to use and manage with the help of its adjustable programming speeds. Furthermore, it boasts of its tool-less disassembly.
However, some users say that there are certain instances when the hopper does not feed at all if the appropriate button is not continuously pressed but such are only occasional occurrences, though.
8. TIPPMANN SSL-200 Electronic Paintball Loader
You might also want to check out the TIPPMANN SSL-200, which is known for being an electronic paintball loader. One of the most prominent and remarkable benefits of this loader is its lightweight nature. The lightness of the hopper is actually a big advantage as it promotes ease of manageability.
I think that it also serves as an economical choice for those who wish to load their paintball guns or markers in a more efficient and faster manner. It makes use of the bend sensor technology, which is effective in activating the loader only when you fire the marker. This can prevent chopping and jams.
With the built-in bend sensor, you also have an assurance that you can prolong the life of the loader’s battery. The adjustable O-ring neck integrated into the paintball loader is also one of its strongest features considering the fact that it helps ensure that it will fit the majority of paintball markers today.
You can also expect them to fit with the help of its wide-mouthed lid. One more advantage of the hopper is its quiet operation. With that, you do not have to worry about getting yourself exposed to your opponents while you are on the field since you can target them silently.
I am sure that you will be pleased with the LED low battery indicator of this hopper, too.
One main flaw that you will notice in this paintball hopper, though, is that it is slightly bulky.
9. Empire Paintball Prophecy Z2 Gun Hopper
I also highly encourage you to include the Empire Paintball Prophecy Z2 Gun Hopper in your list of choices. It is an excellent choice because aside from being offered at an inexpensive price, I can still say that it is highly durable. In fact, you will instantly notice that it is constructed from high-quality materials.
One thing I like about this specific paintball loader from Empire is the attractiveness of its available colors. The availability of some colors also promotes ease in finding one that will perfectly match the majority of my paintball markers. It is also a fantastic choice with its large holding capacity.
In fact, this hopper is capable of holding up to 200 paintballs all the time. What is even better about this hopper is that it truly works well for long competition shots. It is also designed in such a way that it eliminates your worries about having to reload it too frequently because of its high capacity.
Carrying it around the field is also hassle-free. It is mainly because the hopper is lightweight and boasts of its low profile. With such lightness and profile, moving around the playing field will be much easier for you. It also boasts of its fast shooting ability, thanks to its sound-activated feature.
As for the downsides, I noticed that its battery housing is constructed poorly.
10. Tippmann Cyclone Feeder System
Lastly, I would like to recommend the Tippmann Cyclone Feeder System. You can expect it to perform more excellently for the Project Salvo, Alpha Black Elite, and the Custom 98 paintball markers. It is actually a convenient and user-friendly system considering the fact that it does not require you to use any batteries.
It also takes pride in its air-assisted loader system, which can reliably feed paint into your paintball gun at a max of 15bps (balls per second). You will also find its feeder sprocket, which is connected to the hopper’s air system, a big advantage as it is guaranteed to promote a more synchronized ball feed.
This can also significantly lessen the risk of breakage and jamming. Another thing that makes it truly convenient to use is its wide mouth. It can handle up to 200 paintballs and can be attached through its quick-release elbow. The process of installing this system is also simple and easy.
Most of the users of this paintball hopper say that it performs well on the paintball field. In fact, it has the ability to fire at a fast speed without making you worry about the hopper not feeding. It also boasts of its fast feed rate and jam clearing mechanism. It can also work in the rain without any problem.
One drawback, though, is that it relies so much on air to work, which means that a super low tank will cause it to operate poorly.
Paintball Hopper Buyer's Guide
Just like what has been mentioned earlier, hoppers for paintball are not created equally. This means that you really have to do a comprehensive paintball hopper comparison based on the following factors and qualities to boost your chances of making a sound and informed choice.
Size and weight
Make it a point to look for a paintball hopper or loader with just the right size for the number of paintballs you prefer it to hold. There is actually no need for you to get the biggest paintball hopper you can find in the market. What you have to do is to look for one, which has just the right size.
A good hopper is actually that capable of holding a minimum of 50 balls. For even more serious paintball players, though, the best hopper for them is that which is capable of holding more than a hundred balls. Such size makes it possible for you to shoot even if your opponents are still reloading.
The weight also matters a lot in your decision. It is advisable to go for lightweight hoppers. Note that older hopper models have the tendency of weighing you down. With that in mind, you need to look for more modernly and compactly designed hoppers that do not have too much weight.
You do not want the weight of the hopper hampering your movements, do you? Your goal, therefore, is to hunt for one in the market, which weighs less than several pounds only.
The level of competition you are a part of
Another vital consideration when you are still on the stage of shopping for a new hopper is the specific level of competition you are a part of. In case you are only an occasional player then it would be appropriate for you to invest in a hopper for beginners, which is not only reliable but also simple to use.
However, if you play almost every weekend then the most suitable hopper for you is the mid-level version. Such will provide you with the edge you want on the field while impressing your teammates and friends. If you are a serious paintball player, someone who participates in competitions, then a high-end paintball hopper is a must.
Compatibility with your gun
You also have to check whether your chosen paintball hopper is compatible with the paintball gun that you currently own. The good news that the majority of paintball hoppers are now constructed in such a way that they fit the majority of guns.
However, you can’t still expect all of them to be compatible with the marker you own. With that in mind, you have to inquire if the specific hopper you intend to buy fits the model and make of your paintball marker or gun.
With such compatibility, it is possible for you to prevent the risk of costly returns. It can also offer a guarantee that your hopper will really work with your marker.
If possible, choose a hopper with a style that perfectly matches your paintball gun. This especially holds true if you are someone who wants your gun and hopper to match perfectly. Note that paintball hoppers are usually available in several colors so it is not that hard to find one, which is suitable enough for your gun.
The rate of fire
It is also advisable to try figuring out what is the fastest paintball hopper out there. Note that what you will be needing in the paintball field is that which is capable of matching your quick trigger finger. In this case, the perfect hopper for you is usually that which falls in the mid-range or high-end range.
If you are still new in the field, though, and you are just okay with shooting your opponents using your paintball gun in a slow manner then a beginner version is already appropriate for you.
It is also advisable to check the durability of the paintball hopper before choosing. The majority of hoppers are actually constructed out of plastic but such material varies from one type to another. In most cases, hoppers constructed out of clear plastic are usually weaker.
If possible, go for one that does not have the risk of breaking apart or cracking. It should be able to withstand the hit and abuse from your paintball gun. If you have an electric hopper or loader then take note that it usually relies on a proprietary system, which feeds down the paint into the paintball gun and feed neck.
You can also find some models that are known for being more gravity-reliant. Others, on the other hand, force the paint via a rotary as well as down the neck. Ensure that the internal parts of these models can withstand drops and shots. The outer part should also be capable of protecting the insides.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between a gravity fed hopper and an electronic paintball hopper?
Two of the most popular types of paintball hoppers today are the gravity fed and the electronic paintball hopper. Both of them have individual qualities that make them unique. The gravity-fed hopper, for instance, works as a basic paintball hopper, which is attached to a gun’s feed neck.
It feeds paintballs into your gun by dropping them into the breech simply with the aid of gravity. What is good about this hopper is that it performs well. The only problem is that it also tends to feed so fast. In fact, it can feed around 10 to 12 paintballs per second.
If you are a paintball player who wishes to shoot faster than what the gravity-fed hopper can do, then you can go for the electronic type. The electronic paintball hopper utilizes battery-powered motors, feed trays, or feeds as a means of feeding paintballs into the gun in a quicker manner than what the gravity-fed one can do.
With that, it is possible for this type of paintball hopper to let you shoot around 15-20 paintballs every second. You can even aim for faster shots than that.
Virtue Spire vs. Dye Rotor: Which one is better?
Virtue Spire and Dye Rotor are two of the most popular versions of paintball hoppers at present. The Dye Rotor is a leading product in the market. In fact, the majority of paintball players have this loader. What is good about the Rotor is that it is not only solid and reliable but also efficient. Operating it is also hassle-free.
The Virtue Spire, on the other hand, is known to be lighter than the Rotor. It is also capable of holding more balls. It has an adapting speed, which makes it possible for you to empty the whole loader. It also tends to be less bulky when used on the paintball marker while promoting better visibility.
Does the paintball hopper come with batteries?
In most cases, yes. This especially holds true if you decide to buy the electronic type of paintball hopper. It is mainly because batteries are necessary to make the electronic paintball loaders or hoppers work.
How many shots can a paintball hopper make before I have to change the batteries?
The answer to this is actually dependent on the specific model and version of paintball hopper that you own. If you choose to buy the Dye Rotor, for instance, then expect its battery life to drain only after it provides more than 50,000 shots. If you are a frequent player then this means having to replace the batteries only after several months of use.
Now that you are more informed about paintball hoppers, it would be easier for you to narrow down your options and figure out which one can serve you better. In searching for the best paintball hopper, make it a point to ask the right questions prior to buying. Check out the qualities of each product in your list.
Also, do not forget to consider what kind of paintball player are you. That way, you can select the right hopper, which is a perfect match for your skill level.
Learn more about how to choose the best paintball guns, under 200, under 300 and best paintball masks 2018 with in depth reviews and buyer's guide. By the way, please have a look at our best paintballs, best paintball tanks and best paintball barrels to improve your paintball game!